Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday Tradition

I don't shop on Black Friday. Crowds make me crazy and I honestly don't like shopping all that much. Last year I did all our Christmas shopping online and at Target. And this year will probably be similar though I can't be sure because I haven't bought a single gift yet.
On Black Friday we took the Santa Express, a special subway line that takes Santa to the Gallery Mall for the official start of the Christmas shopping season. Then we march through the mall with a Mummers string band, dancing and caroling. Then we jet on over to the Reading Terminal holiday train display and then on to Macy's for the light show, Dickens Village and a hot date with Santa. It's a hectic way to spend a morning when we also host a leftover Potluck that evening -but I really value the tradition and hope to do it just this way for many years.
Noah is all too starstruck to smile when we sit with Santa, though he does realize he is not the one and only Santa. I like the magic of the Santa myth but I do my own version, explaining that there are armies of store Santas that report to the big North Pole Santa who makes all the deliveries on Christmas Eve. There are no Santa threats for behavior at my house, though we know that Santa does want us to be nice. And Santa only brings one or two special toys and fills our stocking, while Mama and Daddy buy a few extras.
After Noah asked Santa for a real monkey, a live penguin and the Hess truck, I was pleased when Santa explained to Noah that he can't really travel with live animals and that wild things don't make good pets. And then he said "I'm sure I will think of something special for you."
Ray already recognizes Santa - getting excited and signing for "more" when he sees them. Both boys really loved watching the Thanksgiving Day parade - Noah liking the floats and Ray delighting in the balloons.
We had two lovely Thanksgiving meals - a huge blowout for 27 at my Mom's place and a smaller family meal on Saturday with my Dad, Oma, my brother and his family. And our Potluck was fun this year - though noone ate. Everytime we have people over I debate with myself on whether to invite the families we're friends with or the old coworkers and drinking pals. This year it was a drinking crew that stayed later and got a bit more sloshed than the family bunch with which we normally spend time. But damn how I laughed. Since we don't get to go out to the bars anymore it is quite a relief when they come to us and we still have a good time. But damn did Noah have a hangover.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Just like the Ipod commercials.

videoNoah enjoys his Ipod on the train into Manhattan. May beone of my favorite videos ever.

When you send your husband to the store

videoAnd he isn't quite sure what he should pick up, you might get a video like this.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Below snuff

A feverish Noah came running up to our room at 4 am with the news "An alligator bited me!" He later explained "A little lobster with a horn on it got rid of the all the other lobsters and then he told me the part of the ocean with the alligator in it was his favorite part. So I swam over there and the alligator bited my foot." He climbed into our bed, which Ray had already wormed himself into. And remarkably I was unable to fall back to sleep. When Noah and I came downstairs to his room he expected to see the gator but then ventured "Maybe he ran away because he felt bad for biting me and making me cry. Maybe he was just trying to tickle me." I dosed him up with Ibuprofen and he asked "Can we go watch TV now because I'm sick?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Teddy Bear A Go Go

videoThe boys delight in a pile of $120 teddy bears at FAO Schwartz.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

watch out for king kong

Empire State Building, Cirque's Wintuk, & FAO Schwartz. Two small kids. Freezing temperatures. Ambitous. Exhausting. Fantastic. Memories to last a lifetime.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hot, hot, hot

I know. Another video of my kids dancing. But I can't resist. You can hear Ray saying "Cheese" because he sees the camera, and of course singing along with chorus.

Noah's Dance Party - clip 1

Miss Katherine teaches the kids the dance -based on making different movements for each letter of the alphabet. Master Noah is in the stripey shirt.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Noah's Dance Party - Clip 2

Kids do the dance Katherine taught them.

Dances with penguins

Where am I? Who am I? Who are you?

Seems I forgot myself for a moment. Or two months. Time is marching right over me. I feel like we’ve been busy as hell but I’m not clear on what it is we’ve been busy with. As always. Mark explained that doing ANYTHING with two small children is extremely busy. So true.

Noah turned FOUR. We had a DANCE PARTY at the Angler Movement Arts Center, where he has been taking a creative movement class. It’s not something they typically do there but in an effort to find someplace creative to have his party I pitched the idea to Katherine, the owner and she was really cooperative and affordable. I think there were 15 preschoolers along with their parents and a few toddler siblings. A nice assortment of old friends, neighborhood friends and new friends. Katherine did a short performance for them based on the alphabet and then she did a class with them where they duplicated her dance and then just bounced around to the music. The kids really seemed to have a blast. And I think the parents liked watching their kids enjoying the class. We took a few little videos which I’ve been meaning to load on youtube for weeks. But the best part of the party was that Noah was totally in his element. He’s not always outgoing in groups, but this was his place, his teacher, and all his friends and he was loving it.

One thing I have to mention about Noah is that in a group situation he latches on to one person. He doesn’t really play in a group. Even at his own party he was completely focused on his 6 year old cousin Aelan, whom he adores. In fact he keeps telling me that he is going to marry her when he grows up so he can spend every day with her. I’ve tried to explain about marrying cousins and told him they can certainly be best friends and roommates but he seems undeterred, even telling me that he and Aelan discussed it at his birthday party.

Another funny thing about Noah’s party was that he didn’t pay much mind to the girl he had BEGGED me to invite. In his dance class is a little girl named Evan - she is fair skinned with light eyes and white blonde hair with a dyed pink streak in it. She is totally adorable and also very rockin. And Noah has the biggest crush on her. After every class he comes out and tells me how much fun he had dancing with Evan – and even his teacher was giggling about how cute he is about it. A couple of weeks before his party we ran into Evan and her father at our local playground. She was running around in a pack of kids and not paying Noah much mind. He was upset. He kept dejectedly saying “Maybe she doesn’t remember me. Why won’t she play with me?” I explained that she was playing with other kids and he could join in but of course that isn’t what he had in mind. But before we left Evan said goodbye to him and he perked up. We stopped at the pizza place to pick up dinner and there was Evan and her Dad eating. We said Hi and headed out – at which point Noah told me he wished we were eating there with them. And then he said we HAD to invite him to his birthday party. So I gave Evan’s mom an invite maybe two weeks before the party and she didn’t RSVP. And the morning of his party Noah was asking me if Evan was coming and I told him she wasn’t but he would still have fun. Lo and behold her Mom calls that morning and asks if it is too late to come. Noah was so excited – and then ignored her. Playing it cool, taste of her own medicine I guess.

As we do every year we made a disc of Noah’s favorite songs of the year as a party favorite. I am certain the other parents are ready to bludgeon me as I too am sick of listening to it over and over again. I don’t have as much control on what he hears and takes a liking to anymore and thus I’ve had to endure a million listenings of “Hot, Hot, Hot.” Of course some songs I couldn’t put on his disc like MIA’s “Paper Planes” and Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.” I had a hard time explaining to Noah why they couldn’t be on the kiddie playlist.

Christmas is coming. And I am none to bright. Noah has been perusing catalogs that come in the mail and only a parent who is a complete sadist would allow their child to do that. I have repeatedly explained to Noah that he has too many toys already. It really is shameful the amount of stuff we already have. No child needs this much stuff but our families and friends are so generous and I myself try to encourage his interests and end up buying unnecessary stuff. So I’m trying to focus on art supplies, books, videos, mazes, music, and dot-to-dots for the holidays. Of course he’s planning on asking Santa for a real penguin, a real monkey, a foosball table and an electric guitar. I think he might be a bit disappointed with how the holiday rolls.

DAMN this is long. This is why I never get around to blogging. I know it’s going to take me an hour.

And on to RAY. I was always able to kid myself that I was in charge with Noah but Ray is clearly the boss of me. He is so jovial, fun and good natured generally but I fear his displeasure and anger. I have this “just don’t piss off the baby” mentality. Because once he gets going, watch out. And I don’t have the stomach for it. Sometimes it is even too much for Noah. But damn that kid has a smile that could set the world on fire.

Ray has really started playing in the last few weeks. Focusing on pushing trains around, making animals walk along the ground, taking people from place to place. It’s a big change and a welcome one. He’s actually engaging in solo play for decent amounts of time. It is wonderful. He loves books. He’ll pick up a book and back up into your lap and hand it to you. His favorite is “Frosty the Snowman” because we sing it. He’s still a huge animal lover – snuggling up to the cats, pointing out every dog, squealing with glee at the aquarium, waving hello to pigeons. I’m not really a dog person – have always felt if I wanted that much damn responsibility I’d have a baby, I certainly don’t want to walk around in frigid weather, and forget the idea of me picking up warm poops from the sidewalk. (SHUDDER.) But sometimes I see how delighted Ray is just to spot a dog and I think he’ll someday have us buying a puppy. Ya know, if it gets along with Noah’s pet penguin.

OH- and I designed and ordered my Christmas cards. So if you want one and I don't have your up to date address PLEASE send me an email me at strangeafoot at gmail dot com.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Til he drops

Mama and the Ray Beast kill some time at the Target while Mac gets some schoolin.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A-Maze-ing

Have I mentioned Noah is maze obsessed? He can sit and do them for an hour, which really helped on our flights to and from Florida. And I think he is a gifted maze genius. Not just because he can complete fairly difficult ones pretty quickly and effortlessly, but because he's looking ahead and planning the path in his head before he writes. Of course a mother would never over estimate her child's talent and intelligence.
And HOLY COW - Obama is our next president. I had hoped and dreamed but didn't think it truly possible. So relieved. So excited. So proud. He has got his work cut out for him though. It's going to be far from easy to get us out of the muck of the last 8 and there are people all too ready to point fingers if things don't change the day after he takes office.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Four years

Where does the time go?